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עמוד בית
Mon, 17.06.24

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July 2022
Ivelin Koev MD, Aharon Bloch MD, Elisha Ouzan MD, Donna R. Zwas MD, Iddo Z. Ben-Dov MD, PhD, and Israel Gotsman MD

Background: Advanced heart failure (HF) carries a high rate of recurrent HF hospitalizations and a very high mortality rate. Mechanical devices and heart transplantation are limited to a select few. Dialysis may be a good alternative for advanced HF patients with volume overload despite maximal pharmacological therapy.

Objectives: To assess the net clinical outcome of peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis in patients with advanced HF.

Methods: We analyzed all advanced HF patients who were referred for dialysis due to volume overload in our institution. Patients were followed for complications, HF hospitalizations, and survival.

Results: We assessed 35 patients; 10 (29%) underwent peritoneal dialysis and 25 (71%) underwent hemodialysis; 71% were male; median (interquartile range) age was 74 (67–78) years. Estimated glomerular filtration rate was 20 (13–32) ml/min per 1.73 m2. New York Heart Association functional capacity was III. Median follow-up time was 719 days (interquartile range 658–780). One-year mortality rate was 8/35 (23%) and overall mortality rate was 16/35 (46%). Three patients (9%) died during the first year due to line or peritoneal dialysis related sepsis, and 6 (17%) died during the entire follow-up. The median number of HF hospitalizations was significantly reduced during the year on dialysis compared to the year prior to dialysis (0.0 [0.0–1.0] vs. 2.0 [0.0–3.0], P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Dialysis is reasonably safe and significantly reduced HF hospitalization in advanced HF patients. Dialysis could be a good alternative for advanced HF patients with intractable volume overload.

May 2022
Issac Levy MD, Dolev Dollberg MD, Ron Berant MD, and Ronit Friling MD

Background: Data on how the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affected consultations in ophthalmic departments are sparse.

Objectives: To examine the epidemiology of ophthalmic consultations in a large pediatric emergency medicine department (PED) during the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Israel.

Methods: The database of a tertiary pediatric medical center was retrospectively reviewed for patients aged < 18 years who attended the PED from 17 March to 30 April 2020 (first COVID-19 lockdown) and the corresponding period in 2019. Background, clinical, and disease-related data were collected from the medical charts and compared between groups.

Results: The study included 757 PED visits. There were no significant differences in demographics between the groups. The 2020 period was characterized by a decrease in PED visits (by 52%), increase in arrivals during late afternoon and evening (P = 0.013), decrease in visits of older children (age 5–10 year), and proportional increase in younger children (age 1–5 years) (P = 0.011). The most common diagnoses overall and during each period was trauma followed by conjunctivitis and eyelid inflammation. The mechanisms of trauma differed (P = 0.002), with an increase in sharp trauma and decrease in blunt trauma in 2020 (P < 0.001 for both). In 2020, 95% of traumatic events occurred in the home compared to 54% in 2019 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Parents need to learn appropriate preventive and treatment measures to prevent serious and long-term ophthalmic injury while minimizing their exposure to the COVID-19. PEDs and ophthalmic pediatric clinics should consider increasing use of telemedicine and the availability of more senior physicians as consultants during such times.

Jordan Lachnish MD, Amit Zabatani MD, and Ran Thein MD

Background: The influence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused countries worldwide to implement lockdowns. Elective surgeries were temporarily suspended, with surgeries being performed only for emergent/urgent medical conditions such as hip fractures where early surgical intervention has shown decreased rates of morbidity/mortality.

Objectives: To assess the indirect influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdown on hip fracture patients, considering factors such as time to surgery, early postoperative complications, and ambulation status.

Methods: A comparative retrospective study was conducted on consecutive patients presenting to our emergency department (ED) with hip fractures that were treated surgically (N=29) during a 1-month period during the government lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The treatments were compared to consecutive patients who presented with hip fractures and were treated surgically (N=44) during the same timeframe in the previous year (control). Comparisons were made using t-test, ANOVA test, Fisher's exact test, and chi-square test.

Results: The COVID-19 group was operated on sooner (20.34 vs. 34.87 hours), had fewer early postoperative complications (10.3% vs. 31.8%), had better ambulatory status at discharge, and experienced a shorter hospital stay (5.93 vs. 8.13 days) with more patients being discharged home (72.4% vs. 22.7%).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with hip fractures to our ED during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown indirectly benefited from this situation by undergoing earlier surgical treatment, thus experiencing fewer early postoperative complications, faster ambulation, and sooner discharge.


Moshe Ashkenazi MD MBA, Eyal Zimlichman MD, Noa Zamstein PhD, Galia Rahav MD, Reut Kassif Lerner MD, Yael Haviv MD, and Itai M. Pessach MD PhD MPH

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in repeated surges of patients, sometimes challenging triage protocols and appropriate control of patient flow. Available models, such as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), have shown significant limitations. Still, they are used by some centers to triage COVID-19 patients due to the lack of better tools.

Objectives: To establish a practical and automated triage tool based on readily available clinical data to rapidly determine a distinction between patients who are prone to respiratory failure.

Methods: The electronic medical records of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center March–April 2020 were analyzed. Population data extraction and exploration were conducted using a MDClone (Israel) big data platform. Patients were divided into three groups: non-intubated, intubated within 24 hours, and intubated after 24 hours. The NEWS and our model where applied to all three groups and a best fit prediction model for the prediction of respiratory failure was established.

Results: The cohort included 385 patients, 42 of whom were eventually intubated, 15 within 24 hours or less. The NEWS score was significantly lower for the non-intubated patients compared to the two other groups. Our improved model, which included NEWS elements combined with other clinical data elements, showed significantly better performance. The model's receiver operating characteristic curve had area under curve (AUC) of 0.92 with of sensitivity 0.81, specificity 0.89, and negative predictive value (NPV) 98.4% compared to AUC of 0.63 with NEWS. As patients deteriorate and require further support with supplemental O2, the need for re-triage emerges. Our model was able to identify those patients on supplementary O2 prone to respiratory failure with an AUC of 0.86 sensitivity 0.95, and specificity 0.7 NPV 98.9%, whereas NEWS had an AUC of 0.76. For both groups positive predictive value was approximately 35%.

Conclusions: Our model, based on readily available and simple clinical parameters, showed an excellent ability to predict negative outcome among patients with COVID-19 and therefore might be used as an initial screening tool for patient triage in emergency departments and other COVID-19 specific areas of the hospital.

April 2022
Michal Bromberg MD MPH, Lital Keinan-Boker MD PhD, Lea Gur-Arie MPH, Hanna Sefty MSc, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Rita Dichtiar MPH, Zalman Kaufman MSc, and Aharona Glatman-Freedman MD MPH

Background: Guidelines for pandemic preparedness emphasize the role of sentinel and syndromic surveillance in monitoring pandemic spread.

Objectives: To examine advantages and obstacles of utilizing a sentinel influenza surveillance system to monitor community severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) activity based on Israel's experience from mid-March to mid-May 2020.

Methods: Several modifications were applied to the influenza surveillance system. The clinical component relied mainly on pneumonia and upper respiratory infection (URI) consultations with primary care physicians as well as visits to emergency departments (ED) due to pneumonia. The virological data were based on nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from symptomatic patients who visited outpatient clinics.

Results: By week 12 of the pandemic, the crude and age-specific primary physician consultation rates due to URI and pneumonia declined below the expected level, reaching nadir that lasted from week 15 until week 20. Similarly, ED visits due to pneumonia were significantly lower than expected from weeks 14 and 15 to week 20. The virological surveillance started on week 13 with 6/253 of the swabs (2.3%) positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was a peak of 13/225 positive swabs on week 145.8%. During weeks 17–20, none of the swabs (47–97 per week) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. This trend was similar to national data.

Conclusions: The virological component of the surveillance system showed the SARS-CoV-2 community spread, but had low sensitivity when virus activity was low. The clinical component, however, had no yield. Sentinel surveillance can assist in monitoring future novel pandemics and should be augmented in revised preparedness plans.

Mohammad Khatib PhD MPH, Ahmad Sheikh Muhammad MPH, Salam Hadid PhD, Izhar Ben Shlomo MD, and Malik Yousef PhD

Background: Hookah smoking is a common activity around the world and has recently become a trend among youth. Studies have indicated a relationship between hookah smoking and a high prevalence of chronic diseases, cancer, cardiovascular, and infectious diseases. In Israel, there has been a sharp increase in hookah smoking among the Arabs. Most studies have focused mainly on hookah smoking among young people.

Objectives: To examine the association between hookah smoking and socioeconomic characteristics, health status and behaviors, and knowledge in the adult Arab population and to build a prediction model using machine learning methods.

Methods: This quantitative study based is on data from the Health and Environment Survey conducted by the Galilee Society in 2015–2016. The data were collected through face-to-face interviews with 2046 adults aged 18 years and older.

Results: Using machine learning, a prediction model was built based on eight features. Of the total study population, 13.0% smoked hookah. In the 18–34 age group, 19.5% smoked. Men, people with lower level of health knowledge, heavy consumers of energy drinks and alcohol, and unemployed people were more likely to smoke hookah. Younger and more educated people were more likely to smoke hookah.

Conclusions: Hookah smoking is a widespread behavior among adult Arabs in Israel. The model generated by our study is intended to help health organizations reach people at risk for smoking hookah and to suggest different approaches to eliminate this phenomenon.

March 2022
Zahi Abu Ghosh MD, Mony Shuvy MD, Ronen Beeri MD, Israel Gotsman MD, Batla Falah MD, Mahsati Ibrahimli MD, and Dan Gilon MD

Background: Cancer patients with heart failure (HF) and severe mitral regurgitation (MR) are often considered to be at risk for surgical mitral valve repair/replacement. Severe MR inducing symptomatic HF may prevent delivery of potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy and complicate fluid management with other cancer treatments.

Objectives: To evaluate the outcome of percutaneous mitral valve repair (PMVR) in oncology patients with HF and significant MR.

Methods: Our study comprised 145 patients who underwent PMVR, MitraClip, at Hadassah Medical Center between August 2015 and September 2019, including 28 patients who had active or history of cancer. Data from 28 cancer patients were compared to 117 no-cancer patients from the cohort.

Results: There was no significant difference in the mean age of cancer patients and no-cancer patients (76 vs. 80 years, P = 0.16); 67% of the patients had secondary (functional) MR. Among cancer patients, 21 had solid tumor and 7 had hematologic malignancies. Nine patients (32%) had active malignancy at the time of PMVR. The mean short-term risk score of the patients was similar in the two groups, as were both 30-day and 1-year mortality rates (7% vs. 4%, P = 0.52) and (29% vs. 16%, P = 0.13), respectively.

Conclusion: PMVR in cancer patients is associated with similar 30-day and 1-year survival rate compared with patients without cancer. PMVR should be considered for cancer patients presenting with HF and severe MR and despite their malignancy. This approach may allow cancer patients to safely receive planned oncological treatment

February 2022
Erez Marcusohn MD, Maria Postnikov MD, Ofer Kobo MD, Yaron Hellman MD, Diab Mutlak MD, Danny Epstein MD, Yoram Agmon MD, Lior Gepstein MD PHD, and Robert Zukermann MD

Background: The diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFIB) related cardiomyopathy relies on ruling out other causes for heart failure and on recovery of left ventricular (LV) function following return to sinus rhythm (SR). The pathophysiology underlying this pathology is multifactorial and not as completely known as the factors associated with functional recovery following the restoration of SR.

Objectives: To identify clinical and echocardiographic factors associated with LV systolic function improvement following electrical cardioversion (CV) or after catheter ablation in patients with reduced ejection fraction (EF) related to AFIB and normal LV function at baseline.

Methods: The study included patients with preserved EF at baseline while in SR whose LVEF had reduced while in AFIB and improved LVEF following CV. We compared patients who had improved LVEF to normal baseline to those who did not.

Results: Eighty-six patients with AFIB had evidence of reduced LV systolic function and improved EF following return to SR. Fifty-five (64%) returned their EF to baseline. Patients with a history of ischemic heart disease (IHD), worse LV function, and larger LV size during AFIB were less likely to return to normal LV function. Multivariant analysis revealed that younger patients with slower ventricular response, a history of IHD, larger LV size, and more significant deterioration of LVEF during AFIB were less likely to recover their EF to baseline values.

Conclusions: Patients with worse LV function and larger left ventricle during AFIB are less likely to return their baseline LV function following the restoration of sinus rhythm.

January 2022
Yael Feferman MD, Melinda Katz MD, Natalia Egorova PhD MPH, Umut Sarpel MD MSc, and Nina A. Bickell MD MPH

Background: Potentially preventable readmissions of surgical oncology patients offer opportunities to improve quality of care. Identifying and subsequently addressing remediable causes of readmissions may improve patient-centered care.

Objectives: To identify factors associated with potentially preventable readmissions after index cancer operation.

Methods: The New York State hospital discharge database was used to identify patients undergoing common cancer operations via principal diagnosis and procedure codes between the years 2010 and 2014. The 30-day readmissions were identified and risk factors for potentially preventable readmissions were analyzed using competing risk analysis.

Results: A total of 53,740 cancer surgeries performed for the following tumor types were analyzed: colorectal (CRC) (42%), kidney (22%), liver (2%), lung (25%), ovary (4%), pancreas (4%), and uterine (1%). The 30-day readmission rate was 11.97%, 47% of which were identified as potentially preventable. The most common cause of potentially preventable readmissions was sepsis (48%). Pancreatic cancer had the highest overall readmission rate (22%) and CRC had the highest percentage of potentially preventable readmissions (51%, hazard ratio [HR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.28–1.61). Risk factors associated with preventable readmissions included discharge disposition to a skilled nursing facility (HR 2.22, 95%CI 1.99–2.48) and the need for home healthcare (HR 1.61, 95%CI 1.48–1.75).

Conclusions: Almost half of the 30-day readmissions were potentially preventable and attributed to high rates of sepsis, surgical site infections, dehydration, and electrolyte disorders. These results can be further validated for identifying broad targets for improvement

December 2021
Yana Davidov MD, Yeruham Kleinbaum MD, Yael Inbar MD, Oranit Cohen-Ezra MD, Ella Veitsman MD, Peretz Weiss MD, Mariya Likhter MD, Tania Berdichevski MD PhD, Sima Katsherginsky BA, Avishag Hassid MA, Keren Tsaraf MA, Dana Silverberg BSc, and Ziv Ben Ari MD

Background: New direct acting antiviral agent (DAA) therapies are associated with a high sustained virological response rate (SVR) in hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients. The understanding of the impact of SVR on fibrosis stage is limited.

Objectives: To determine the effect of treatment with the DAAs on long-term liver fibrosis stages, as determined by shear-wave elastography (SWE) or FibroTest©.

Methods: Fibrosis stage was determined at baseline and at 6-month intervals after end of treatment (EOT), using two‐dimensional SWE or FibroTest©; APRI and FIB-4 scores.

Results: The study comprised 133 SVR12 patients. After a median follow-up of 15 months (range 6–33), liver fibrosis stage decreased by at least 1 stage in 75/133 patients (56%). Cirrhosis reversal was observed in 24/82 (29%). Repeated median liver stiffness SWE values in cirrhotic patients were 15.1 kPa at baseline (range 10.5–100), 13.4 kPa (range 5.5–51) at 6 months, and 11.4 kPa (range 6.1–35.8) at 12 months after EOT, P = 0.01. During the second year after EOT, no statistically significant differences in liver fibrosis stage in 12, 18, and 24 months were found. Splenomegaly was the only significant negative predictor of liver fibrosis regression during all time points of repetitive noninvasive assessment.

Conclusions: Following successful DAA treatment, the majority of our HCV patients with advanced fibrosis demonstrated significant improvement, as assessed by non-invasive methods. Advanced fibrosis stage was a negative predictor of fibrosis regression. Longer follow-up periods are required to further establish the impact of DAAs treatment in HCV patients with advanced fibrosis

Noa Avni-Zauberman MD, Barequet S Avni-Zauberma MD, Alon Weissman MD, Juliana Gildener-Leapman MD, Orit Ezra Nimni MD, Yoav Berger MD, and Ofira Zloto MD

Background: Keratoconus is a non-inflammatory disease characterized by progressive corneal steepening, which leads to decreased visual acuity secondary to high irregular astigmatism.

Objectives: To compare the one-year outcomes of accelerated vs. standard collagen crosslinking (CXL) in the treatment of keratoconus.

Methods: A database search of patients who underwent CXL from 2009 to 2017 was conducted at the cornea clinic at Sheba Medical Center. Charts of 99 adult patients (124 eyes) were reviewed. All patients were diagnosed with keratoconus. Main outcome measures were change in keratometry, uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA), and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).

Results: We evaluated outcomes in two groups: CXL with standard (3 mW/cm2 for 30 minutes) vs. the accelerated (9 mW/cm2 for 10 minutes) protocol. There were no significant differences between the groups with regard to BCVA, UCVA, and mean spherical equivalent (P =0.83, 0.0519, 0.181, respectively). The corneal thickness in the center and thinnest location were higher in the accelerated group than the in the standard group (P = 0.126). Complication rates did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusions: Accelerated and standard CXL are both safe and effective techniques. Accelerated CXL confers the added benefit of being a faster procedure to both patients and surgeons.

November 2021
Edward Kim MPH, Elliot Goodman MD, Gilbert Sebbag MD, Ohana Gil MD, Alan Jotkowitz MD, and Benjamin H. Taragin MD

Background: Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) impacted medical education and led to the significant modification or suspension of clinical clerkships and rotations.

Objectives: To describe a revised surgery clerkship curriculum, in which we divided in-person clinical teaching into smaller groups of students and adopted online-based learning to foster student and patient safety while upholding program standards.

Methods: The third-year surgery core clerkship of a 4-year international English-language program at the Medical School for International Health at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel, was adapted by dividing students into smaller capsules for in-person learning and incorporating online learning tools. Specifically, students were divided evenly throughout three surgical departments, each of which followed a different clinical schedule.

Results: National Board of Medical Examiners clerkship scores of third-year medical students who were returning to in-person clinical clerkships after transitioning from 8 weeks of online-based learning showed no significant difference from the previous 2 years.

Conclusions: To manage with the restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, we designed an alternative approach to a traditional surgical clerkship that minimized the risk of exposure and used online learning tools to navigate scheduling challenges. This curriculum enabled students to complete their clinical rotation objectives and outcomes while maintaining program standards. Furthermore, this approach provided a number of benefits, which medical schools should consider adopting the model into practice even in a post-pandemic setting

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